Monday, July 24, 2017

The Literature Page, Sort Of -- Nothing About The Bakken -- July 24, 2017

I'm sorry if I ruined anyone's day by posting again with nothing about the Bakken. If you came here looking for updates on the Bakken, scroll down or scroll to the sidebar at the right.

It's been ages since I've been out on my bike for any meaningful ride. First, I was out of town for awhile, and then when I came back it took awhile to get used to the heat here in north Texas. I used that as an excuse not to ride. But today, with absolutely no family commitments, I finally went out to ride.

I got a late start and it will be ferociously hot when I start back home. But I will cool off in the pool.

My first stop was the library to catch up on The New Yorker. As most folks know, I canceled my subscription when it was clear that The New Yorker suffered from Trump Derangement Syndrome and / or inexplicably had decided to go whole hog on writing for the "Cult of Hillary." From November 8, 2016, to late May,2017, it seemed to get worse and worse. A recent issue seemed to have moved into new territory: except for the requisite "Talk of the Town" opening that always slams Trump, the rest of the magazine was pretty much without the president.

So, now the most recent four issues that I am now catching up on. In general, I am impressed. There were several articles that were actually back up to the quality of what I expect from The New Yorker. I would like to think a lot of New York City subscribers let the editor know it was time to move on. But I would be hoping for too much.

LOL. I spoke too soon. I just picked up the most recent issue (someone else had been reading it while I read the earlier issues that I had not yet read). The cover is a caricature of President Trump dragging his son Jared by the ear off Air Force One while kicking his son-in-law who is coming down the steps ahead of The Donald. So, The New Yorker simply can't get past Trump; he's "in their head" as they say; they continue to show signs and symptoms of TDS.

So, what have I learned, what must I come back to? I have only read a little of each of the articles mentioned below; I will read them in full later.

The 60s: The Story of a Decade; the anthology of New Yorker stories from the 1960s. It is now out in hardcover. I have a soft cover pre-publication issue that was sent to me for free if I reviewed it for Amazon. I'll probably buy the hardcover published edition some time.

"Power Brokers: Africa's Solar Boom Is Changing Life Beyond the Grid" in the June 26, 2017, issue. This is exactly where solar energy might work. Having said that, when in remote Africa with the USAF some years ago, diesel generators did a great job providing uninterrupted, dependable, and very inexpensive electricity, 24/7. But solar still fills a niche where human resources are such that there is no one around to maintain the diesel generators. A 10-page article.

Retrospective. A short essay on "Thunderbolt and Lightfoot," a Clint Eastwood movie, 1973. The essay mentions Edgar Wright who directed "Baby Driver" now in general release, and getting good reviews, apparently. Edgar Wright is better known for "Shaun of the Dead," a real classic and one I love. My wife does not.

"Feeding The Beast: David Pecker's Reign at the National Enquirer and the Rise of Trump," by Jeffrey Toobin. This is worth going through all the back issues of The New Yorker. Anyone familiar with The National Enquirer should not be surprised by the premise of this article. The caption at the opening photograph suggests the publisher, David Pecker, may be interested in buying Time. Wow. Ten pages devoted to the story.

"Undermined: A Local Activist Fights for the Future of Coal Country," by Eliza Griswold. I'm not sure what the article is all about but it looks very, very interesting. Again, ten pages devoted to the story.

Not at all interested in this -- I thought -- and then I read this: a book review of yet another biography of Ernest Hemingway. I was aware of the new biography, "Hemingway" (Knopf) by Mary V. Dearborn. We'll see.

A review of "Baby Driver."

Shakespeare. This one is going to be very, very good. "If You Prick Us: What Shakespeare Taught Me About Fear, Loathing, and the Literary Imagination" by Stephen Greenblatt. I am so glad I know who the real Shakespeare is (previously posted; Sir Henry Neville); this article discusses again, the Venice ghetto (Ghetto Vecchio). Fascinating. Six pages devoted to the story.

"The Future Is Texas: The State Is Increasingly Diverse, But Right-Wing Zealots Are Taking Over," by Lawrence Wright. Again, should be fascinating to see how the New York alt-left zealots see Austin. Amazing: twenty-three (23) pages devoted to this story. It must have really gotten the attention of the editors.

"Follow The Leader: How Residents of a Rural Area Started Copying the President, by Peter Hessler, in a "letter from Colorado." Seven pages.

"Hat Trick: How George Strait Became The Most Reliable Star In Music," by Kelefa Sanneh. Her short bio simply says Sanneh has been a staff writer for The New Yorker since 2008. It will be interesting to see if she seems to know anything about country music. It sounds like she actually visited San Antonio to get the story. It must have been culture shock for her. [Later, I did read this article the next day. It is very, very good and highly recommended for country music buffs. It's the kind of writing one might have found in Rolling Stone in its heyday. I learned a new term: stacked blue jeans. That's when wearing blue jeans long enough that they bunch up when standing up; the purpose is that when on a horse, they cover as much of the boot as possible. So, "stacked blue jeans."]
Paradise Lost, by David S Brown, another biography of F Scott Fitzgerald. How many do we need?

En Plein Air, southern California, July 24, 2016
Age 3 and a few days

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